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Your Friday Food Buffet

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 13, 2007 3:00PM

It's tax week, everyone. It's also a busy weekend for food and drink events in the city, between WhiskyFest and the IACP Cookbook Expo. Some of you are probably shedding tears in your beer after writing yet another check to the Man. In the spirit of empathy, we have a wine-and-spirits intensive edition of "YFFB" to take your mind off things.

It's Still Alright to "Head For the Mountains of Busch": Sometimes it pays to listen to Harry Shearer, who had some fun at the expense of the spirits industry in last week's edition of his long-running "Le Show" radio program. Shearer was riffing on the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States' decision to whack Patron Tequila's pee-pee for using sex in its advertising to increase sales, although alcohol, sex, and advertising have long made for a mind-numbingblowing three-way. We're sure that Patron is looking at its increase in sales — which doubled in 2006 thanks in no small part to the ads — and wondering if they could have been just a bit more subtle.

DISCUS also cited non-member Bong Vodka for its water pipe-shaped bottle, which they say encourages drug use. The irony here being that alcohol, a depressant, is one of our most easily available drugs. Bong's marketer argued that the bottle was "pop-icon imagery" dating back 100 years to the vodka's Dutch origins, proof that marketers will spin anything for a buck and indicative that someone at Bong's been ingesting more than vodka. Chicagoist thinks that they're overstating the "pop icon imagery" argument by, oh, about sixty-to-seventy years.

We Get It!: We received yet another press release this week about red wine sales increasing in response to reports about the health benefits of drinking it in moderate amounts. The Neilsen Company reported that red wine sales from November 2K6 to last month grew forty percent faster than total wine sales. It's become old hat by now. We get it. We're reaching for our corkscrew and heading to our wine rack right now to keep heart disease at bay. Thank you, Neilsen. Where would we be without you?

Can't Stop Eating 'Em: Jays Potato Chips got one hell of a one-two punch this week. First, Panera Bread pulled Jays from its stores this week in favor of marketing their own brand of chips. Panera accounted for half of Jays' small-bag business. Then plans were announced to move production of its specialty snacks from its production facility at 99th and Cottage Grove to a plant in Jefferson, Ind., near the Indiana-Kentucky border. It's unknown whether this move will cost local plant workers their jobs at this time, but the move can also be seen as one that saves Jays' parent company, Ubiquity Brands, money in the long haul.

This Item Calls for a Kool & the Gang Reference: Anyone want to know what former Chicagoista Joanna Miller's been doing since she left our warm embrace? Well, she signed up to receive weekly produce box deliveries from Newleaf Natural Grocery in Rogers Park. The meals she's been preparing from the produce boxes are now recorded for posterity — or until someone blows up the internets, whichever comes first — on her vegetable blog. Now we're looking forward to the deliveries as much as she.

At a Snail's Pace: Slow Food Chicago is hosting a walking tour of Little Village on Saturday. The tour begins at 9:30 at Panaderia La Baguette (3117 W. 26th St.) and runs for 2-1/2 hours. Tickets can be purchased here, but be warned. Space is limited to 20 people. If you miss out this weekend, Slow Food Chicago will repeat the tour on June 16.

We Think He's a Doctor: Expert oenophile and wine blogger Dr. Vino (Tyler Colman) will host a tasting this evening from 6-8 p.m. at Provenance Food and Wine. The "Return of the Native" tasting will feature wines from obscure, indigenous grapes. Colman will be on hand to guide you through the tasting notes and give background on the selections.